Epigenetic modifications play a central role in the cellular and developmental programming of gene expression, serving as a molecular code for regulating the spatial and temporal patterns of gene expression. Epigenetic modifications are unique as they are cell-specific, heritable, and dynamic. They provide a framework for regulating gene expression, a map of functional noncoding elements in the genome, a biological sensor of environmental conditions, and a window of opportunity for the potential development of therapeutic strategies. Here we provide a brief overview of our current understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms regulating gene expression, focusing on DNA methylation and posttranslational modifications of histone proteins. Furthermore, we explore the emerging field of epigenetics in the horse, including the identification of functional elements in the horse genome and the potential development of epigenetic therapies in horses. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
- HorseEquineEpigeneticsDNA MethylationHistone Modification